19 November 2006 | stl_owen
Although all the American television networks remaining by the 1960's had radio counterparts, television wanted to play on an image as the heir to the movie theater rather than as radio with pictures. It took the American television industry awhile to realize that, although performers like Eve Arden, Burns and Allen, or Lucille Ball did have movie careers behind them, it was more likely their radio backgrounds that brought them television success. The most successful of them being the one whose careers in both media were limited, it would have been easy to ignore either one; it chose to focus on the one it saw most flattering to itself and looked to actresses like Debbie Reynolds to take on a similar role. Unlike Reynolds, most of Ball's movies were pretty bad, the most enjoyable being little more than a ninety minute version of her television program. It would seem obvious that trying to do the reverse, putting a ninety minute film comedy into a thirty minute weekly television program, does not come out the same, but television tried anyway with programs like "The Debbie Reynolds Show". It is perhaps unsurprising, then, to find some attempts at the insertion of Hollywood movie connections.
For instance, the "Debbie Reynolds Show" episode mentioned earlier regarding the marriage license as being derivative of "I Love Lucy" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show", were themselves both derivative of the Alfred Hitchcock screwball comedy "Mr. and Mrs. Smith".
The choice of music for her "comeback" episode, also mentioned earlier, is a more subtle connection, in that it relates to Reynolds own career. Reynold's first starring role was in "Singing In The Rain" which included the Herb Nacio Brown song "Make 'Em Laugh", a number which is a fairly blatant plagiarism of Cole Porter's "Be A Clown".